Can you interview so well you get upleveled?

Salesforce Referrals!
Sep 25 25 Comments

We all know downleveling can happen. But is it possible for the opposite to happen? Can you perform so well in an interview that you're offered a level higher than your YOE would normally dictate?

At lots of companies different levels have slightly different interview formats (e.g. greater emphasis on system design versus coding). Is it possible for a recruiter to enter someone into interviews for a level they wouldn't ordinarily be considered for judging by their YOE?

As a hypothetical illustrating this - what would happen if a recruiter at Facebook accidentally slotted someone with 2 YOE for interviews at the E6 level and they absolutely crushed them? If Facebook didn't offer the person the role, is that an indictment of the interviewing criteria not meaningfully correlating to YOE in either direction?

EDIT: Note I'm specifically talking about cases where you perform disproportionately well relative to the interviewers' expectations - not cases where you get upleveled due to the mismatch of titles/levels between companies.

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TOP 25 Comments
  • Apple czarDick
    Prob 1/100 at google - of those that actually clear the hiring committee.
    Sep 25 5
    • Salesforce Referrals!
      OP
      So you're saying upleveling is a thing that actually does happen, just rarely?
      Sep 25
    • Apple czarDick
      Yes. Very rarely. You need to get all optimal solutions, all follow-ups, and have a solid career prior (FANG).
      Sep 25
    • Got upleveled L5 to 6 after on-site at Google, but they did tell me it was very unusual
      Sep 25
    • Salesforce Referrals!
      OP
      Did you feel as though you did really well on the interviews? How many YOE were you "missing"?
      Sep 25
    • Missing 2-3 YOE if I were to guess? Google tried to have me interview for L4 and I strongly pushed for 5 even before the on-site. Then there were 5 rounds at on-site (3 nailed, 1 good, 1 meh). Then I pushed for L6 and got it. My sense is they def try to lowball you if you’re coming from non FANG, so you got to be aggressive and ask for it.
      Sep 25
  • Citadel Securities / Eng bluetiger
    Company will always prefer to downlevel - if you really are that good, then you will earn a very quick promotion.
    Sep 25 7
    • Citadel Securities / Eng bluetiger
      The point is there’s no reason for the company to up-level you. If they down-level you, they can always promote you if you show good performance. All they can do if they should have given you a lower level is fire you. Better to err on the side of caution from the company’s perspective.
      Sep 25
    • Citadel Securities / Eng bluetiger
      Nobody said you should expect a promotion. All I’m saying is it doesn’t make sense for a company to up-level a candidate based on their interviews alone.
      Sep 25
    • Salesforce Referrals!
      OP
      Okay. But even if that's the case, does that not indicate that the interview process calibrated for a distinct YOE is basically bullshit? It's conceivable to me that someone with 2 YOE could be interviewed "resume blind" at the 10 YOE level and essentially nail it - including system design and behavioral.

      If it doesn't make sense for a company to uplevel based on interviews alone, then that's an implicit admission their interview process doesn't calibrate for, or correlate performance to, meaningful YOE.
      Sep 25
    • Citadel Securities / Eng bluetiger
      You’re never going to be able to spend 4 hours with someone and know exactly how good they are. That’s why companies take all information into account: interviews, referrals, etc. experience is a huge part of that
      Sep 25
    • Citadel Securities / Eng bluetiger
      Plus there are other effects: someone with 2 YOE is likely going to be interviewing for similar levels at all companies. Why would you up-level them if you don’t have to?

      Experience is also a pretty good indicator of performance in general. Even for a very capable 23 year old, the ability of managing people and business sense need to come somewhat from experience.
      Sep 25
  • Google
    AngelPriya

    Google

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    Amazon
    AngelPriyamore
    Yes, happens often when you move to down level company.
    Sep 25 0
  • Amazon LostAtC
    At faang probably not since they all have schematic interview process. At small-mid size companies HM have more discretion so they might put you at higher level.
    Sep 25 3
    • Salesforce Referrals!
      OP
      So let's say we have a TopCoder Red developer with 2 YOE, who successfully designed and launched a software product in college. How would this person be slotted for interviews at Amazon?

      This person could likely pass interviews at the SDE3 level despite being barely eligible for SDE2.
      Sep 25
    • Amazon LostAtC
      If someone launched a successful product in college then probably sde3. If you’re highly published PhD grad, that created multiple popular large open source applications in their free time, you would be interviewing for principal without any YOE. No one gives a shit about topcoder.
      Sep 25
    • Salesforce Referrals!
      OP
      To clarify: I mentioned TopCoder Red because anyone at that level of competitive programming skill will crush Leetcode interviews, regardless of their YOE. And since you can likewise study for system design, the only other thing separating someone based on YOE is...what, behavioral?
      Sep 25
  • Amazon snetgersbe
    Happened to me at a series c start up. Went in for data scientist, got offered lead data scientist position.
    Sep 25 1
    • Amazon snetgersbe
      Not the only data scientist here either.
      Sep 25
  • Google / Ops Huhf13
    It happens but it's rare. It happened to me, actually
    Sep 26 0
  • Indeed Synti
    Yes. I have twice. I've also been offered downlevel but did not and would not take it.
    Sep 25 0
  • Snapchat uOkV57
    I saw people crushing interviews got top of the band offer (some can even get one time exception), but rarely uplevel. Generally TC is more flexible but leveling is fixed
    Sep 25 0
  • Amazon qwerty529
    Yes I've had employees 3 so far this year who were upleveled and ecstatic when they learned they were going to make much more than originally discussed.
    Sep 25 0

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